WWE officials claimed Tuesday that former CEO Vince McMahon allegedly made two additional hush money payments worth $5 million following an investigation alleging he used $14.6 million to silence former female employees who accused him of sexual misconduct since 2006.
According to a revised filing from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, McMahon apparently made such previously undisclosed payments in 2007 and 2009, which brought the total amount paid to $19.6 million.
“The Company has evaluated the Unrecorded Expenses and has determined that such amounts should have been recorded as expenses in each of the periods in which they became probable and estimable,” the WWE stated in the filing Tuesday, per The Hollywood Reporter.
The American professional wrestling network said it “has also received, and may receive in the future, regulatory, investigative and enforcement inquiries, subpoenas or demands arising from, related to, or in connection with these matters.”
Following a report from The Wall Street Journal, McMahon has allegedly paid out $12 million to buy the silence of four women over the last 16 years. One of the women was a wrestler he allegedly coerced into giving him oral sex, then cut from the company after she spurned his subsequent advances.
The news came out after a report that said the WWE board was investigating McMahon for allegedly paying a former employee $3 million to keep quiet about an affair.
McMahon reportedly paid out $7.5 million to a former wrestler whose lawyer negotiated a non-disclosure agreement with McMahon in 2018. The report also said McMahon allegedly sent unsolicited naked pictures of himself to a WWE contractor, leading to a roughly seven-figure settlement in 2008. And in a 2006 agreement, a former WWE manager was reportedly paid $1 million not to discuss a sexual relationship she had with McMahon, the newspaper reported.
“I have pledged my complete cooperation to the investigation by the special committee, and I will do everything possible to support the investigation,” McMahon said at the time. “I have also pledged to accept the findings and outcome of the investigation, whatever they are.”
McMahon, the husband of former Trump administration Small Business Administration chief Linda McMahon, came under scrutiny in April when a tipster told the board of directors McMahon had had a long-running affair with a paralegal and doubled her salary.
According to the report, the tipster claimed McMahon had handed the woman off “like a toy” to John Laurinaitis, WWE’s head of talent.
The WWE board hired the law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP to investigate the claims.
According to McMahon’s lawyer, Jerry McDevitt, the alleged paramour did not accuse McMahon of harassment.
“My friend was so scared — so she quit after Vince McMahon and lawyer Jerry paid her millions of dollars to shut up,” the initial email to the board said.
Weeks after the initial Wall Street Journal report, New York magazine published a story with interviews of former WWE referee Rita Chatterton and former WWE wrestler Leonard Inzitari.
They both claimed McMahon sexually assaulted Chatterton in 1986.
McMahon publicly announced his retirement as CEO on July 22, stepping out of the ring with $3.4 billion, the Daily Mail reported.
His daughter, Stephanie, replaced the 76-year-old World Wrestling Entertainment boss.
“I love this company and am committed to working with the Independent Directors to strengthen our culture and our Company,” Stephanie McMahon said, according to the Daily Mail.
Vince McMahon has yet to respond to any of the allegations against him.
Greg Wilson contributed to this report.